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Published in the 16-31 Aug 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

REJOINDERS

Dichotomy of a Muslim mind

This is with reference to the article by Mr. Akbar Ahmed in your esteemed Gazette under “Islamic Perspectives.” His article reflects the dichotomy of his mind caught between various cultures and belonging to none. He is an academician who has absorbed a great deal from the cultures that he has studied, possibly admires their good aspects, but then tries to attempt an impossible feat of tying up these diverse cultures/religions into a harmonious whole, an exercise possible for an academic paper alone. That is why he is unable to arrive at any pragmatic solution in his article for there is none. Inadvertently, he voices this fact at the end of his article by referring to the Quran which states that the Almighty has created us as parts of different tribes, nations, colours and features. How true. Allah loves diversity. But Janab Akbar Ahmed , like a true academician, makes sweeping generalisations from his ivory tower; 'Americans feel under siege after Sept. 11, Israelis have felt under siege for several decades' What siege is he talking about? It could not have any connection with Islam surely. The Americans are under siege from the misinformation of their own government and their elected selfish leaders. And the Israelis? If at all their is a siege, it is upon the American economy where the Jewish banker, Jewish broker, and Jewish financier rules Wall Street. Pampered and supported by the super power, how can the Israelis feel a siege, unless it is a siege of conscience for rendering the Palestinians homeless and helpless against a power that's armed to the teeth? Mr. Akbar should first soak up the Islamic ethos, the Islamic spirit, the Islamic simplicity, the Islamic austerity, sense the power reigned-in, the clarity of the word, the uncompromising and very clear commands and instructions in the Quran. The last and the most beloved Prophet of Allah , for whom He asks unstinted allegiance and love in the Quran is not merely.."a highly revered figure for cultural and religious reasons.."(I quote from the article). No Muslim will tolerate disrespect in any form for the Prophet, how can Akbar Ahmed say "this is the final straw for some"? It is true though that Sufi philosophy, in the tradition of Maulana Rumi is not appreciated in the present, perhaps because it is not understood by the majority. But then Sufism based on love and ecstasy for the Creator, is esoteric and personal, one cannot expect all 'scholars' to teach thus. I truly sympathise with Prof. Akbar's lament regarding the State's endeavours to deaden the thinking faculties of the majority of the Muslim populace, thankfully that's not the case in this country. The antagonism of the State machinery in fact sharpens the average Muslim here to become aggressively defensive of his faith. Is that perhaps the mechanism operative worldwide? If there is gentleness in Islam, there is also Anger (Jalal) and Awe (Ru’b) .The world has suppressed Islam for over 80 years, in China, USSR, in the East and West. It may not be so unusual that there is a restless stirring in the ranks today. 

Nishat A. Hussaini, Gulbarga 

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